Although written tongue-in-cheek, this is not at all a joke and I am being entirely sincere.
I am pleased to inform all fellow leaders that for the first time in two decades I am interviewing potential candidates for the opportunity to employ me.
I can assure you that I will not be a Quiet Quitter.
I will be a Loud Starter!
My family comes 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, as does my own health, so please do not apply if you may expect of me a level of commitment that would diminish these roles so important to me that I retired from my first career in my early 30s when I was emerging as a global leader in my field of scientific research (pathobiology in aquatic animals).
I must confess, I am not especially driven by remuneration as for most of my life I have sought to contribute to humanity’s progress, but in total have only been paid for that contribution for a handful of those years.
Still, I know my value, and what I might aim to receive in remuneration would be so complex and subjective I will not narrow it down more than to say my range is from $0 to $1.78 Million per annum depending on who you are and what we aim to do together within your team.
Amongst my many faults is a high level of loyalty, integrity, honesty, courage and authenticity so much so that I have been known to flagellate myself mercilessly – inwardly – for not living up to my own standards.
It also means that I cannot suffer insincerity; I could not pretend otherwise because few contemporary human beings have revealed as much of themselves and about their opinions as I have in my writing and blogging over 15 years including:
- speaking before the Senate Select Committee on Housing Affordability in Brisbane in 2007 (recorded in Hansard),
- holding PM Rudd and Treasurer Swann to account on housing affordability in an open forum in early 2008 (leading to a very early glimpse at the former’s now famous temper),
- Leading contributor to Bubblepedia which became an important blog for housing contrarians during the most intense phase of the Australian house price bubble,
- Invited participant in Personal Investor Online debate on housing affordability with Steve Keen and against Michael Yardney and others,
- Peter Martin used my analysis and data in an article about housing affordability and the emotional premium of buying over renting,
- An occasional invited guest contributor to MacroBusiness in early period,
- I had a letter read on 60 Minutes in 2010 on lack of leadership in Australian public life, and
- after recommencing blogging activities in late 2019 founding MacroEdgo, I was probably the earliest public voice in Australia to begin explaining the depth of the impending COVID-19 crisis and I accurately forecasted many of the issues that were to present and discussed socioeconomic consequences, influencing public policy through various online fora especially at “The Conversation”. With humility I suggest that my record of public commentary through this period is unsurpassed by any Australian.
My performance at identifying – and often publicly highlighting – major turns in asset markets is enviable.
These highlights include:
- going to cash 12 months prior to the GFC,
- resisting the psychological pull of the Australian house price bubble and buying our only family home in a lull in the market (being pragmatic to buy at an optimal moment of emotional and financial outcome alignment),
- investing in beaten down Gold Coast property (2 properties) and taking profits early at maximum leverage at a peak unsurpassed since,
- positioning for a major market dislocation event in February 2020 foreseeing the depth of the looming pandemic crisis (which I discussed in depth at MacroEdgo) using put options yielding a return of 3,000% pre-tax in several months (from an initial position of $5,000), and
- positioning for the current bear market (using negative ETFs due to the structure of the portfolio, but being too early and reaching my maximum loss level and finalising the strategy just a week before the bear market commenced a year ago and thus not profiting from it).
I cannot take all credit as I have learned much from and have been heavily influenced by the brilliant Jeremy Grantham over many years. I recognised early that our minds worked similarly, with common professional backgrounds. Intelligence is not just about having the intellectual capacity and skill for accurate analysis. Perhaps more important is the capacity and humility to recognise it in others.
In my public commentary and activist activities I have always remembered what my old boss in Biosecurity Australia, Dr David Banks, would say to me about our role developing importation policy (for me, for prawns and other aquatic animals and products) – that when both sides of a debate are annoyed with what you are saying you know you are getting close to the right position. Over the years that I have blogged I have taken much solace in his wisdom.
Nonetheless, working away alone at home for a decade and a half with virtually zero contact, electronically or otherwise, with other like-minded human beings is a situation I would be pleased to end.
In complete truth (I cannot help myself – it may be pathological!), I am entirely unsure of how I might help any particular organisation, but I am certain that I could add significant value for the right place which aligns with my values.
If there is one thing that I regret from my first career as a scientist, it is that the one team I was briefly a part of which was full of wonderful individuals was outside of research, which was where my real passion then lay.
Being older, wiser, more experienced and content with life, I know I am ready to be a good contributor in a great team.
If asked what would be my ideal job I would say working within the capitalist system to help humanity overcome our twin, inter-related chief challenges of achieving social cohesion to combat the climate crisis.
I am not (quite) narcissistic enough to be blind to the reality that many will find this approach to obtaining a quality job ‘different’, even strange.
As a heteronormative male in my early 50’s who has not been employed for 20 years, I am not by any measure an average job hunter. I’m not average in many ways. And to far too many, being a male full time home parent for the entirety of my sons’ lives until they finish school is already strange.
I don’t mind standing out from the crowd, especially when I know how successful our approach has been.
I have one further stipulation. As my youngest – who is now taller than me – still attends school and I remain his primary caregiver, in the early stages of our association I am not looking for a full time position.
If I have succeeded in piquing your interest in what I might offer to your organisation, do not hesitate to check out my details on Linked in and here on MacroEdgo where you will find out way too much about me, including (for what it is worth now) my very old resume up until the period that I retired as a research scientist. I can be contacted through LinkedIn.
I’m excited to see what is on offer. Yes, I am discerning, but I am also open-minded, so why not contact me and let’s take it from there 😉
I will now go out on a limb and mention 3 role types that I consider myself ideally suited for (and demonstrably so): 1) thought-leader in a think tank, 2) non-executive director of an Australian-domiciled and/or multinational publicly-listed company involved in the energy transition within an ESG-cognisant framework; and 3) financial markets macro analyst. Below I will discuss the why – please contact me if you want to discuss the how…
- Thought-leader in a think tank
If one is to read much of what McKinsey produced in the first year of the pandemic, and compare it to much of what I wrote and published at MacroEdgo, a strong echo is noticeable with my views typically proceeding theirs by a few weeks. Note, for example, that McKinsey produced a regular series called “The Great Reset” but began doing so after I published my essay of that title on 30 March 2020.
I am being brash pointing this out, but I am not brash enough to suggest the co-option of my intellectual property – I’ve been open with my intellectual contribution to aid humanity, afterall. That was my highest priority and I have always been clear on that.
What I simply aim to point out is that a think tank well-known to employ teams of the ‘best and brightest’ produced a body of work with a lot of similarity to what I produced working away on my own while a fulltime stay at home Dad, with limited contact with other higher order thinkers outside of my own immediate family.
Based on this body of work alone it is clear that I would be a valuable addition to elite think-tank groups.
2. Non-executive director
Publicly-listed companies intimately and intrinsically involved in the energy transition, especially those historically involved with fossil fuel extraction, face major challenges in the public perception context.
The energy transition is incredibly complex and geopolitically fraught.
I am a pragmatic climate crisis activist. Even if companies, and even industries, have been slow to be constructive on major issues, even counter-productive, culture change is always possible. Actually it is vital because I would argue it is humanity’s best chance at successfully addressing the climate change crisis. Moreover, it is critical that such companies with problematic public perception challenges are exemplary at all aspects of ESG.
Culture change requires the involvement of broad-minded, courageous thought-leaders, and even better when they come from outside the narrow pool of insiders from which these positions are typically filled.
Experience can be gained, but uncommon intellect and insight from outside such talent pools is rare and is of value to all stakeholders when combined with rare authenticity and courage.
3. Macro analyst
I would suggest that there is a strong electronic footprint of my thoughts on macroeconomics and investing since founding MacroEdgo and earlier.
Perhaps most important and of interest is to give a concise overlay of my current thinking.
So what do I think about markets presently? I think equity markets – led by the major US indices – have further to fall. I am not equipped with insider research and knowledge or skill to analyse earnings and where they are likely to go over the next 12 months, and thus discuss PE ratio expansion/contraction, though I can easily believe that earnings are likely to fall when rates have been increased so rapidly.
My view is more basic, however.
For a decade incredibly low global interest rates was said to justify a market rally because the denominator of the NPV formula approached zero, or was negative, giving an infinite value. The always optimistic salespeople on Wall Street made maximum use of that narrative. Of course salespeople are not limited to Wall St, and the ‘free’ money spread to most global assets, making it a challenge to buy assets at a price likely to provide a reasonable medium to long-term return if and when interest rates returned to levels that prevailed for the last half of the 20th century. That shifted markets towards speculation not investing.
Interest rates are now adjusting back towards that earlier normality and so markets are adjusting back towards their role as weighing machines rather than popularity contests (along Ben Graham’s famous analogy oft quoted by Warren Buffett). Moreover, this changed market condition now assists central banks in their campaign against inflation.
Nothing here is exceptionally insightful, I agree. Perhaps the following might add some value as I have not heard this said publicly by others (though I did say a little of this in a comment on a post by Diana Mousina from AMP on LinkedIn.)
I anticipate this process to take most of the remainder of this decade because inflation will be more persistent than many are publicly stating, and not just for the reasons that those who do anticipate ‘sticky’ inflation are discussing (i.e. that price pressures will persist because of necessary adjustments in the economy especially to address the climate crisis).
It is my personal view that Fed Chairman Volcker represented the high point in Central bank independence and freedom from political influence, and that was because the public’s lived experience with inflation through the 70’s gave him the political leeway to stay the course and defeat inflation.
Irrespective of the commonly accepted narrative, central bankers are not independent of the political masters who decide their fate. (They are far from independent of the financial and business elites either, by the way, for the same reasons.)
Thus unless strong deflationary factors emerge which outweigh those forementioned strong inflationary factors, I expect central banks to fold.
(Emergent deflationary pressures seem unlikely due to geopolitics.)
It is easy right now for central banks to talk tough on fighting inflation when the economic consequences of the tightening cycle are barely being felt and while especially employment remains high.
Let’s see how central bankers stand up to political pressure from public pressure resulting from surging unemployment in a recession when that public has no to little living memory of the counter-factual pain from persistent high inflation.
Thus I expect the 2020s to be very similar to the 1970s, with several false dawns of victory over inflation before the political will truly exists to conquer it.
Consequently, I expect measured by market indice movements that it will be a lost decade for most asset markets in real terms, especially in those where speculation from free money had been greatest.
The way that I personally am positioning on this basis is as follows:
- I still like gold (and also still as a hedge against socioeconomic disruption),
- I like certain hard commodities, i.e. those important in the energy transition and with a level of constrained supply especially from like-minded nations (putting it politely),
- I do like developing economies, though I carefully separate my exposure to China (the reasons for which I discussed on MacroEdgo pre-COVID),
- I intend allocating to Europe on weakness for the value proposition,
- broad exposure to US equity markets will have to wait for better value to emerge (though it is closer for individual businesses that have been well run and have invested responsibly rather than engineering for short term share price movements), and
- allocations to bonds will continue to require dexterity in the knowledge that the bear market is far from over and there is likely to be several rate rising cycles potentially each with higher peaks until inflation is brought under enduring control.
To conclude – and I say the following with the intention that this will be the last I say publicly in this campaign of mine to find a quality role – I sincerely believe that I can add significant value to the right team.
I’ve never said this publicly, but mentioned it to a friend at the time, one of the major reasons I founded MacroEdgo was because it really sunk home that I had valuable insights to share after watching fellow Australian, and Morgan Stanley CEO, James Gorman say almost verbatim comments that I had been making to that friend in many long discussions we had on economics and investing.
(Though I must admit that my language was much less jargonistic – a pet peeve of mine, and most authentic contrarians who have no desire to be ‘in’ or ‘cool’ and would cringe at the thought of it – it’s not in our ‘wheelhouse’ 😉
But I should be clear about what motivates me and what does not.
I have not sat in my home for almost 2 decades thinking “if only” or “I could have done that”.
Not at all.
Committing my full and best time and energy of my life to supporting my sons from their births through to the completion of their schooling, and supporting my wife through her career, and in our broader lives together, has been more fulfilling and rewarding than I could ever fully explain.
That is why I argue that all parents should strongly consider my views around balancing these roles with income-producing and ambition-/ego-/self-confidence-sating roles.
Most of the time through this period I have had some level of capacity to contribute further to society and blogging was the perfect outlet for me to do that.
However, my capacity to contribute is now increasing as my sons complete and near completion of their schooling and become increasingly independent.
And I have a deep desire to contribute to humanity’s progress mostly because I have an intense love and optimism for us and our world.
I know that I will find a way to contribute to the best of my ability to the challenges we human beings face together.
My first preference on doing that is within the capitalist system because, unlike many with my thoughts on climate crisis activism, I have deep conviction that our system – with appropriate reform – presents by far the best chance of succeeding.
Of course if I manage to follow that path then I would aim to be paid commensurately, and the extra security that would give my family, and the pressure it would relieve from my wife whose sole income has sustained us for 20 years, would be an important consideration.
I realise that there is a lot of ego and elitism in the areas that I mention above, and very many will scoff and suggest the limb that I have gone out on is ridiculously flimsy.
Equally I know that pragmatism quickly asserts for those who have the capital and/or fully comprehend the tenuous situation in which we humans have placed ourselves.
Nonetheless, if I do not manage to convince anyone presently of the value I have the capacity to add, then I will continue contributing through blogging and volunteering with movements I support closely, possibly Women of Colour Australia amongst others.
Thank you for your time.
Gained value from these words and ideas? Consider supporting my work at GoFundMe
© Copyright Brett Edgerton 2023
One thought on “Open To Offers”
Comments are closed.